Etch-A-Mitt Shakes Things Up Again: Welfare Moms Better Off With “The Dignity of Work”

Via Ryan Grim (ICYMI):

Apparently Ann Romney forgot to mention to Willard that moms who don’t work outside the home do THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD!!!1 and already have ample dignity, thankyouverymuchyousupersexistsoand…

oh, wait — Mittens meant those moms — y’know, the ones who can’t afford dignity.

Sorry. They gotsta earn their Caddies (if not teh car elevators).

Related: Pay no attention to the ongoing war on women voting.

The Pre-Butterfly Effect

Gee, I can’t imagine why the gender gap between the Democratic Party and the GOP has widened into a yawning chasm:

HUNT: Let me ask you this. The Democrats of course say you are waging, the GOP is waging a war on women. I know you don’t agree with that, but looking at the polls, you have a gender gap problem. Recent polls show a huge, huge margin for Democrats among women voters. How big a problem is it? How do you close it?
PRIEBUS: Well, for one thing, if the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction and this started a war against the Vatican that this president pursued. He still hasn’t answered Archbishop Dolan’s issues with Obama world and Obamacare, so I think that’s the first issue.

Don’t worry, ladies (Or should I say larvae?). I’m sure Ann Romney will be happy to take some of your concerns down for the boys to look at later, once they’ve finished girding their loins for the latest pre-fab Culture War skirmish.

I hear she’s an absolute wiz at shorthand.

h/t Echidne

Image: Flickr, used via Creative Commons

A Giraffe Hunter in a Ditch is Worth Two in the Bush. Or Something.

by matttbastard

Newt teh Perfessor outdoes himself on the future of gender in an excerpt from a mid-90s lecture:

Traditionally, he said, “if combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days, because they get infections and they don’t have upper body strength.” On the other hand, in the space age, “if combat means being on an Aegis class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets,” a female may be better equipped than a restless male, who is “biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.”

One wonders if Newt is biologically driven to blithely amplify the sound of one hand clapping to a deafeningly irrelevant crescendo. Every time teh Perfesser speaks my brain short-circuits and replaces the fatuous, pseudo-intellectual taint-fiddling with an infinite tape-loop of ‘Baby Elephant Walk’. Which, as far as coping mechanisms go, is certainly better than repeatedly slamming one’s head in the passenger door of a rusty Datsun hatchback.

But not by much.

Of Patriarchy and Paradox.

So, um, Happy New Year, kids. We at bastard.logic are proud to kick off 2011 with the debut of our newest co-blogger, Amy Lauren, whom you’ll no doubt be seeing quite a bit of as the year progresses. – mb

Being a girl has become undesirable somehow, something to mock.  Women are expected to behave like men on emotional level in order to gain their acceptance.  I admit I’ve experienced feeling compelled to go against the “girly-girl” stereotype on a base level from the time I was old enough to perceive the reaction it evoked from the opposite gender.  Always ready to roll my eyes at the behaviour of my female peers for the benefit of a guy.  At the time I thought it made me cool, individualistic, set me apart from the flock.  Now I wonder if I have always been naturally inclined to sell out my gender to please men?  As an ardent feminist this notion is vaguely disturbing, while at the same time admitting that I haven’t entirely broken myself of this tendency.

For the twenty-thirty-something this seems to play out significantly in sexual relationships.  Somehow if you’re not to be considered this negative girly-girl type you must treat sex in a casual sense.  Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I heard “I’m not looking for anything serious…” well, you know.  The marriage and babies obsessed set was never my bag, but I internalized the notion to the point that it seemed okay to deny myself anything meaningful and long term as long as my physical needs were kinda-sorta met.  As it turns out, meaningless sex is not my bag either.

So what’s a girl to do?

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Shorter Andrew Sullivan: It would be criminal NOT to speculate about Elena Kagan’s “alleged lesbianism”

by matttbastard

Sully momentarily veers from his dogged quest to discover the truth about Trig Palin’s parentage to set his sights on an even more momentous issue of international importance: Breathlessly demanding that SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan come clean about her sexual orientation. Or, as Sully’s latest Murdoch Times column bluntly headlines, “Answer the lesbian question, Ms. Legal Eagle.”

FFS:

[Kagan] is unmarried, and apparently has no anecdotes of dates, no ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, no romantic interludes … nothing. In 4,500 words, we do not find out even where she lives or has lived or if she lives alone. (But we do know what her brothers do for a living — teaching). The far right has already identified her as a “lesbian homosexual”; and the gay blogosphere openly discussed her alleged lesbianism weeks ago.

But there is no confirmation of that anywhere and the White House reiterated last week that questions about sexual orientation “have no place” in judging a nominee (but her gender most certainly does). Quite how you defend this argument — from a president whose own criterion for nominees is a real experience of how law can affect ordinary people — is beyond me. It is also beyond most ordinary people out there.

1. Sully, baby, no matter how one feels about you and the vainly mercurial ‘of no party or clique’ passion play that defines your trademark rapid-fire, post-ideological preening, one could never, ever accuse you of being ‘ordinary’.

So don’t even try to project your latest singular obsession onto the vast, blank canvas that symbolizes your (mis)understanding of the great, collectively anonymous (and oh-so-noble!) unwashed you and your Serious™ ilk love to cite with blissfully ignorant impunity — you’re not fooling anyone.

2. This whole quest to uncover the sordid secrets of who (ALLEGED LESBIAN!) Elena Kagan does (or doesn’t) like to get freaky with is ridiculous — and, quite frankly, sexist.

Sully is Google-stalking someone to hunt down evidence of romantic/domestic minutia that might provide clues as to which way Kagan swings, all because her physical appearance and chosen lifestyle contradict sociatal norms.  IOW, the “lesbian question” is, as Jonathan Pitts-Wiley recently dubbed it, the “white version of being called uppity” (ie, ALLEGED LESBIAN ELENA KAGAN TOTALLY FITS THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE OF A DYKE). One would expect coverage of what is essentially an elite whisper campaign to be the traffic-boosting provenance of gossip outlets, not an Atlantic-affiliated political blog.

Elena Kagan isn’t some desperate, fame-seeking reality show contestant. She’s (most likely) the future next 9th SCOTUS justice  And, true to her own words, she should submit to a vigourous, extensive and transparent confirmation process* to help fill the serious chasms in her scant public record (not her dating record).

Going off on a demonstrative, tangential outing campaign is both an unnecessary digression from vital efforts to illuminate an all-too-opaque SCOTUS nominee and an all-too-familiar example of the sort of sexist speculation uppity women continually face.

*Which, though sure to be a (highly relative) ratings bonanza for CSPAN as it unfolds live and in real time on teh Twitterz, is totally NOT AT ALL LIKE A REALITY SHOW. Shaddap.

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From Marc Lepine to Hiram Monserrate

by matttbastard

This was the first thing I read today, 20 years after the violent massacre of 14 young women (because they were women):

New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate, one of the Democrats who helped “defend traditional marriage” in the New York Senate last week by voting against a bill that would have made same-sex marriage legal in the Empire State, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service. 52 weeks of domestic abuse counseling and three years of probation, on an assault conviction stemming from a December 2008 incident where he “accidentally” slashed his girlfriends face while beating the crap out of her after he dragged her through the lobby of his Queens apartment building.

Prosecutors had said that Monserrate, an ex-Marine, lashed out at his domestic partner, Karla Giraldo, with a glass in a fit of rage after he found another man’s business card in her purse. The glass broke against her face, cutting her near her left eye down to her skull and leaving a lasting scar.

Monserrate had been originally charged with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts of assault after cutting Giraldo’s face during a bitter argument in his apartment on Dec. 19, 2008. However, in October, New York William M. Erlbaum, who presided over his trial, acquitted him on the two felony assault charges, which carried a mandatory sentence of seven years in prison and would have forced him to forfeit his Senate seat.

Dawg:

Has anything really changed since the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment held a mess dinner to honour Marc Lepine?* I would like to believe so. I would like to think that these annual memorials and the respectful newspaper editorials and the gentle men who wear white ribbons are making a difference.

But the fact that so many still appear to have trouble with woman-hatred–trying to wish it away, reduce its significance, confine its existence to a “lone madman,” blame it on a nonexistent Muslim bringing-up, or even, on the fringes, excuse it, tells me that we have much, much further to go. Violence against women continues to flourish, including mass murder. Still think Marc Lepine was alone?

Indeed, we still have miles to go in this struggle. April Reign charts the course we need to take:

This year as you remember and mourn the loss of 14 of our sisters remember also the words of Joe Hill; Don’t Mourn, Organize!

Help Equal Voice to get more women elected, fight for strong gun control, support women’s reproductive choice, donate to a local shelter, help a woman or a young girl learn tech skills or use those skills to help others.

In the words of Emma Goldman;
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.”

Let’s get active.

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Don’t call it a comeback (well, OK, if you must…)

by matttbastard

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna put forth a sorry Nikki Finke-style excuse for my lack of productivity this summer. All responsibility for low creative yield is entirely mine and mine alone (FYI, the dog ate my motivation). Ok, so Twitter shares at least part of the blame — though if you follow me there (and if you don’t, well, why the hell not??) you’ll see that I’ve merely shifted platforms when it comes to deliverin’ teh linky goodness, snarky invective and one-line squibs.

Still, for the past 3 (!) years, this site has been my primary base of operations. And though I’ve begun to focus more on feature writing (for cash — hell, at this point, will write for potato chips and soda pop, though booze is preferred) the blog format — this parasitic, freewheeling burst medium that still gets little-to-no respect from more formalistic practioners of the journalistic arts — is my first love.

And, damn it all, I miss it.

Therefore, in the coming weeks, yours truly will be returning to regular daily (yes, daily) blogging, both here at bastard.logic and my other haunt, Comments From Left Field. Am sure some of you are pleased by this bit of news, others gravely disappointed — while the vast majority are, in all likelihood, entirely indifferent. It is this last group with whom I intend to make the biggest impact; would rather that you love — or loathe — me than not give a toss.

Anyway, forgive the brief foray into self-indulgence; on with the show.

PS: Buy a t-shirt — help support Canada’s left-wing fringe (ie, women — buh?!)

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Mary Jo.

by matttbastard

Amid the overwhelming coverage surrounding the historic passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy, one important name from his past has either been reduced to a footnote or, far too often, ignored completely: Mary Jo Kopechne, the civil rights activist and Kennedy aide who perished in a now-infamous 1969 car accident in Chappaquiddick, ME when a besotted Kennedy crashed his car into the ocean. The controversy surrounding these events would follow Kennedy throughout his career.

Melissa Lasky gives the 411:

Mary Jo wasn’t a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan. She was a dedicated civil rights activist and political talent with a bright future — granted, whenever someone dies young, people sermonize about how he had a “bright future” ahead of him — but she actually did. She wasn’t afraid to defy convention (28 and unmarried, oh the horror!) or create her own career path based on her talents. She lived in Georgetown (where I grew up) and loved the Red Sox (we’ll forgive her for that). Then she got in a car driven by a 36-year-old senator with an alcohol problem and a cauldron full of demons, and wound up a controversial footnote in a dynasty.

We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don’t know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.

Liss tries to balance the deserved accolades Kennedy has received for his lifelong work serving his constituents and the US with his despicable actions on that fateful day:

I suspect that Teddy, who knew himself well and could stare his flaws in the face, who carried the shame of his misdeeds in the furrow of his brow that never totally lightened even with a smile, also felt burdened by his own abuses of the privilege he knew he hadn’t earned. It was there; he couldn’t help himself using it, even when he knew he shouldn’t have. And it hung on him, as well it should have.

He’d made a terrible bargain with himself, too.

Teddy’s legacy, then, is complicated. A man of privilege, who used it cynically for his own benefit. A man of privilege, who used it generously to try to change the world. And maybe to salve his own conscience. Even as he believed fervently in the genuine rightness of his endeavors—and certainly would have, even if there wasn’t a scale to balance.

I have no tidy conclusion. It is what it is.

Daisy is far less charitable:

Sorry my dear liberal brothers and sisters, I respectfully sit this one out. Women first.

Further, as an alcoholic, I will not mourn a rich drunk allowed to make a deadly mistake and carry on as if nothing had happened.

I will mourn the working woman who was forgotten, as the actual circumstances of her death were covered up by a powerful family, who then arbitrarily assigned her slut status.

Imagine slowly, slowly drowning, water enveloping you inch by inch as you drown, waiting for the person to rescue you that never arrives.

Sorry, folks. Some things, I do not excuse.

Mary Jo represents all the nobody-women killed (or allowed to die, if you want to quibble over my terms) by all the powerful, rich men, because they were “evidence”–because they got in the way.

During this orgy of remembrance and sentimentality, of course, we won’t be hearing about her…once again, it will be considered somehow “rude” to mention Mary Jo Kopechne’s suspicious and untimely death. Well, let me be RUDE, then, and remind everyone that she existed. That she was a beautiful and lively woman, cherished by family and friends; she was a human being that was considered expendable by the Kennedy clan.

FUCK Ted Kennedy. Purgatory is hot, and he’ll be there awhile.

How this unresolved incident should affect the way we consider his legacy is, as noted by Will Bunch and myself, a difficult question that historians will likely struggle with for some time to come. Kennedy’s undeniably laudable accomplishments should not be allowed to mitigate his responsibility for and the subsequent irresponsibility and lack of accountability displayed following the death of Kopechne. That said, I’m not comfortable discounting a lifetime of tireless social justice advocacy and impactful legislating, no matter how horrible his actions were (should we solely refer to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson as racist slave owners, or Sen. Robert Byrd as a former KKK member at the expense of the overall historical record?)

Ultimately, like most truly great (though not necessarily morally upright) historical figures, an accurate summation of Sen. Kennedy’s life must take all aspects into account, even those we’d prefer to avoid; indeed, to merely indulge in hagiography does an unforgiveable disservice to both Kopechne’s memory and Kennedy’s.

Update: Welcome Feministing readers! Make sure to check out the latest thoughtful posts on Kennedy and Kopechne from Daisy and Bunch (much thanks for the linkage & kind words). [links corrected -- mea culpa, is late.]

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Clinton Coverage & Media “Anecdrama”

by matttbastard

(photo by NYCArthur, used under a Creative Commons license)

Great post @ Foreign Policy’s FP Passport Blog from Annie Lowrey:

Seven months ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton — the powerful New York Senator, former First Lady, and runner-up in the brutally long Democratic primary competition — became U.S. President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Since then, she’s chastened North Korea, advocated on behalf of Burma, and rallied against Israeli settlement building. She’s logged nearly 100,000 air miles. She’s tirelessly pursued Obama’s diplomatic agenda around the world.

And she’s done it while fostering or demonstrating little friction with the White House she once hoped to occupy. Being secretary of state doesn’t just require being a diplomat abroad. It requires being a diplomat in Washington. For, foreign policy is not and has never been the purview of State alone — Clinton overlaps and dovetails and supports and creates policy with Obama, a spate of diplomatic envoys, the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the national security advisers, Vice President Joe Biden, et cetera. By all accounts, she’s done well at that as well.

Not that you’d know it reading the paper. Too often, coverage of Clinton neglects the fact that the secretary of state has never been the sole creator of U.S. foreign policy. It also, far too often, focuses hyper-intently on the perceived narrative of how Clinton feels about her relationship with the White House — rather than the actual relationship between Clinton and Obama or how she’s doing her job.

As they say, read the whole damn thing — Lowrey goes on to name ‘em and shame ‘em.  It (still) ain’t pretty.

Sigh.

h/t The Kicker

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